Everyone feels stress. We know that. As a culture, we hear about it all day long. Our doctors tell us, our professors tell us, our friends, librarians, and TV commercials tell us! So how do we manage it? There has to be a way to walk into our offices each morning, and not end up wanting to punch our cubicle walls. Do you want to hear the best news, quilters? There IS a great way to manage stress…and you’re already doing it. In fact, you’re thinking about it at this moment. That’s right…quilting.
Quilting can be an incredible stress reliever. Maybe you already know this from experience, but maybe you have never really taken the time to consider the way quilting has not only helped you creatively, but emotionally, mentally, and socially as well. Here’s a little food for thought, followed be some patterns we’re sure you’ll find to be especially relaxing.
1. Working with your hands = majorly calming
In the article Experiencing Therapy Through Doing: Making Quilts, Dr. Kristin M. Langellier is quoted as stating that quilting “…absorbs emotions, allows quilters to sort out feelings, or provides a focus outside the self particularly through touch, the work of the hands” (210). We can all relate to this. We’ve all had stressful days that have left us feeling the need to put our emotions somewhere…ANYWHERE! If you’re a quilter, you know that piecing or sewing are great ways to safely physicalize anger caused by stress and release it from the body. You’re mad..and then suddenly you’re in the zone, working on a project that makes you feel both accomplished and happy.
2. Quilting Creates Community
Legend has it, all a quilter has to do in order to bond with a fellow quilter is make direct eye contact. Immediately, their minds and mouths will be filled with shared experiences, tales of your crazy projects, and favorite techniques, and they will be bonded for life…But seriously, quilting in groups can be AWESOME for your self-esteem and weekly social needs. What could be better than gathering together with people who also understand and love one of your favorite activities? Look into whether or not your community has a quilting group and JOIN UP!
3. You feel SUPER accomplished at the end of a project
“Quilting,” according to Langellier, “contributes to a feeling of accomplishment in a time of turmoil or stress” (210), and this is capital “I” important! Feeling overwhelmed at work or fighting with a loved one can leave us feeling like our lives are spinning out of control or like we’re not very good at anything. Proving to ourselves that we CAN finish a project, that we CAN create something beautiful, despite the fact that other aspects of our lives are looking grim, is an incredibly healthy habit to get in. Think of how amazing it feels to put that last stitch into a quilt. Isn’t it nice to know that these moments of satisfaction not only make us happier, but healthier as well?